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Opinion
Nouhad Mahmoud
Nouhad Mahmoud Syria: Resuming Escalation Since the announcement of the American-Russian sponsored cessation of hostilities, doubts about its ability to succeed were voiced by different observers
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Immediately after announcing the end of the truce sponsored by the United States and Russia, at 7 p.m. on Monday Sept. 12, the Syrian army supported by the Russian Air Force, waged 40 aerial bombardments against areas held by the opposition, killing 32 civilians and wounding scores. A convoy of 31 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to besieged villages in Western Aleppo manned by volunteers of the Syrian Red Crescent was targeted in the initial campaign. A total of 18 trucks were hit and 20 humanitarian personnel were killed. This particular attack was the subject of a strong condemnation over the world .The United Nations announced a temporal suspension of its operations in Syria.

Since the announcement of the American-Russian sponsored cessation of hostilities, doubts about its ability to succeed were voiced by different observers.

Details about the agreement were never revealed, as if one or both sides were trying to hide their intentions. Even within the American administration, the Pentagon had its reservations about cooperating with the Russians on intelligence gatherings for the first time, while tensions between the two powers are flagrant in other parts of the world, mostly in the Ukraine.

The concept of targeting the combatants of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham — formerly Al-Nusra — who represent the main military force of the insurgents, without linking that to a political process, raised reservations and objections from within the Syrian oppositions on the ground and their “friends” in different capitals.

Twenty-one large military factions issued a statement on Sept. 12 to express their disapproval of targeting Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and showed reservation about excluding the group from the truce. They noticed also that the U.S.-Russian agreement did not mention foreign militias, brought by Iran to fight on the side of Al-Assad regime, nor did it contain any mechanism to supervise its application, or monitor its violations. Both sides accused each other of firing incidents, during the week of relative calm.

The international coalition aerial bombardment, Saturday evening, of Syrian army positions in Deir-ez-Zor in north-eastern Syria, which caused the death of 62 soldiers and the injury of another 100, which the United States insisted was by mistake, did weaken further the shaky truce. The Syrian regime accused the Americans of supporting the Islamic State on the battlefield, while the Russians considered the incident as a result of lack of coordination with their forces in Syria, as stipulated by the parties’ agreement.

Washington denied accusations, saying it would never target the Syrian army intentionally. Even John Kerry didn’t avoid entering the polemic recrimination, saying on Monday that the Russians have failed. There weren’t seven days of calm, and no humanitarian aid was delivered. That came after declarations from a Russian general, Sergey Rudskoy, blaming the United States for not being committed to separate the moderate opposition groups from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham combatants, amid their failure to impose the ceasefire on the insurgents, giving reason for the Syrian government to disengage from the truce agreement.

During this time confrontations continued around Damascus and in Homs. The regime continued its aggressive policy to gain more territory and to change the demography of the country, an objective shared vehemently by the Iranian regime in the whole Levant and in Syria in particular.

In the North, units from the Syrian Free Army, supported by the Turkish forces, are continuing their offensive to enlarge the area bordering Turkey liberating territory from the Islamic State and from Kurdish combatants. President Erdoğan announced, before leaving to New York, that the operation known as “The Euphrates Shield” will continue, after dominating 900 square kilometers, to occupy 5,000 square kilometers bordering his country to eliminate any danger from terrorists. The safe zone advocated by Turkey to host Syrian refugees, and which was not approved by the Obama administration will be a fait accompli with the new administration in Washington next January.

The failure of the American-Russian sponsored truce in Syria is not a surprise. Both sides didn’t seem firmly convinced and committed to the announced objectives. On the ground the Syrian regime and its Iranian allies are emboldened with their military gains and are determined more than ever to impose their will by force. The Russian commitment to President Al-Assad is solid as always. The circumstances and the “friends” of Syria didn’t serve the Syrian opposition aspiration, but it won’t be realistic to expect the Syrian people, after their exceptional suffering from a revanchist and ruthless regime, to surrender to the regional or international plots against their country and their future. The absurd war will continue and more fiercely .

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